Photographers Unknown, The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Twelve
They call me Gianni
They call me Jim
But also Dominic
In both genders
In every guise
Whether it be Gianni, Jim or Dominic
In the present tense as in the past
First or third person
We’re talking of the same person
With the difference that each one
Speaks in another tongue
Claims the spiteful gossip
At time Gianni and Jim will be one and the same
At times they will oppose each other
Sometimes they might act as total strangers
And so it goes for both Dominics
The distance between them may be paper thin
Or else wide as the ocean
That which separates two languages
Or lies, mute, within the blood cells
Albert Russo, Dramatis Personae, The Crowded World of Solitude, Vol. 2
Born in February, 1943, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Albert Russo is a poet, short story writer, novelist and photographer. The son of a British mother and an Italian Sephardic father, he attended the high school in Bujumbura, a coastal city in Burundi, where he mastered four languages: French, English, Dutch, German, and vernacular Swahili. Russo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at New York University in 1964 He traveled to Heidelberg in 1965, where he earned a degree in German culture and literature at the Collegium Palatinum.
Russo first began writing poems in English in 1964 during his years at New York University. In 1965, he settled in Milan, Italy, where he worked at the family firm and continued his writing. His first novel entitled “La Pointe du Diable”, written in French, was published in 1973 in Brussels. For this work, Russo won the Prix Colette in Cannes and the Prix de la Liberté in Paris.
In 1975, Albert Russo returned to New York for three years. During this period, he taught language classes and published several poems and short stories in a variety of international magazines, including The Literary Review, Culture Française, La Libre Belgique, and Revue Zaire. Russo also worked with UNICEF translating scripts for children’s documentary films. He returned to Europe in 1978 and settled in Paris.
Albert Russo has written more than twenty-five works, translated into twelve languages. His main themes are the defense of individual and collective rights, including ethnic, gender and religious, and the fight against racism. Many of his works are centered around life in Africa; two of which are“Mixed Blood” and “Eclipse over Lake Tanganyika”, both published in 2000. Russo wrote a large two-volume series entitled “The Crowded World of Solitude”, the first volume which includes short stories, essays, and fables: the second volume contains forty year collection of poems.
During the 1980s, through their common Congolese experience and love for Africa, Russo met and befriended Italian artist and philosopher Joseph Pace. Later in the 2999s, he became friends with poet and photographer Adam Donaldson Powell. Together they authored the 2009 “Gaytude”, a volume of poetry, with photographs by Russo, which dealt with the gay experience of life on five continents.
As a professional photographer, Albert Russo has earned several prizes, including winning a National Indie-Excellence award and a silver medal from a Gallery Photografica competition. His photographic work has been shown at Switzerland’s Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. In 2019, Russo won a UNICEF Award for his poetry oeuvre and, in 2020, an Artavita Certificate for his photography.